Stages of Gum Disease Explained

gum diseaseThe connection between your overall physical health and oral hygiene is becoming increasingly clear. Gum disease has been associated with cardiovascular disease. It also can affect your ability to chew properly. This is very important. It ensures that you can give your body the fuel it needs to run at top efficiency.

Unfortunately, gum disease develops slowly and with very few symptoms in the earliest stages. This means that you must partner with your dentist to understand the stages of gum disease. He or she will discuss with you the best methods for treating it so that you can preserve your teeth.

Stages of Gum Disease:

Gingivitis

This first stage of gum disease is the most common among both children and adults. The good news is that it is reversible. During this stage, your gums become slightly inflamed by bacteria in your mouth. There may be redness, swelling or bleeding that occurs when brushing your teeth. Dentists detect gingivitis during routine oral exams.

They will then make sure you understand how to properly brush and floss your teeth. Regular cleanings will be recommended. And, possibly, a special rinse to reduce bacteria around your gum line. The “pay off” of staying on top of your oral hygiene routine will be a positive review at your next dental exam.

Periodontitis

This stage is marked by deeper pockets around your gum line. And damage to the soft tissues in your mouth and jawbone. When you look in the mirror you may notice that your gums are bright red, puffy and creating spaces between your teeth. Your gums may be tender to the touch. They may hurt when brushing your teeth.

Pus can also form around your teeth. And you may notice a foul taste when eating. It may not be possible to completely reverse the damage to your bones at this point. But your dentist can halt the progression of the disease by performing a deeper cleaning. This will involve scaling and root planing. It helps remove the plaque and tartar causing the infection around your gums. It also helps prohibit further inflammation.

Advanced Periodontitis

The final stage of gum disease occurs when serious bone loss is detected. Bacteria will have begun to destroy the tissues that hold your teeth in place. At this point, teeth will begin to shift and loosen.

The appropriate support structures in your mouth are no longer there. Sadly, tooth extraction is sometimes necessary to begin restoring the mouth to a better state of health. This stage is often upsetting for patients. But it is reassuring to know that your dentist can still do many things to preserve your remaining teeth and soft tissues using advanced surgical and tooth cleaning techniques.

Brushing your teeth twice a day is a great way to keep them white and shiny. Always remember that oral hygiene goes deeper than just the surface. Gum disease is preventable with regular dental exams and cleanings. So, maintain your treatment plan. And see your dentist at the first sign of periodontal disease.

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